MILWAUKEE -- Frank Robinson could have stomached a walkoff homer. But a balkoff call? No way.
Mike Stanton balked home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 4-3 victory over the slumping Washington Nationals before a rare sellout crowd at Miller Park.
"This is compared to a referee in the NBA with one-tenth of a second on the clock and he calls a touch foul and sends the guy to the free-throw line to win a ballgame," Robinson said. "They don't do it. This one shouldn't have ended up like that."
In his first appearance for the Nationals, who signed him Wednesday after he was waived by the New York Yankees, Stanton tried to pick off Rickie Weeks from first base before he even threw a pitch.
Weeks said he saw Stanton step toward home plate as he threw over to first and that's why he took a couple of steps off the bag himself.
"I was hoping the umpire saw it," Weeks said.
First base umpire Paul Schrieber ruled exactly that, allowing Chris Magruder to score from third.
"That is my typical move," Stanton argued. "He said I went to the plate. No, I didn't. It's just unfortunate a game had to end this way."
Magruder said he didn't realize the throw had gone to first base, but as soon as he figured he had to keep from getting into a rundown himself, his third base coach, Rich Donnelly, was yelling, 'He balked! He balked."'
"It was just weird all the way around," Magruder said. "Weird vibes. You think you've been in the game long enough to see just about everything once. But not that."
The Nationals vehemently argued the call and Robinson showed reporters the play on a small video monitor in the clubhouse to state his case that it was a bad call. The replays appeared to show it was indeed a legal step toward first base.
"Where is home plate? Down the first base line?" Robinson asked. "Does anybody here think that is a step to home plate? ... Look, unless home plate is down the first base line, there is no way he stepped to home."
The umpiring crew left Miller Park before they could be asked for their comments on the play.
"The pity of this is nothing can be done about it," Robinson said. "We lost the game."
Brewers manager Ned Yost didn't have a good view of the play because he watched the last seven innings on the television in his office after getting tossed for arguing with home plate umpire Bob Davidson after Weeks struck out looking in the third.
At first, Yost thought the Brewers, who had been picked off twice, had made another blunder on the bases.
"The TV didn't show the move. It just showed Rickie getting picked off, and I'm thinking, 'Man, not for the third time!"' Yost said. "Then, I saw the umpire saying balk and I was out of here high-fiving everybody when they came up the tunnel."
Magruder led off the inning with a pinch-hit double off loser Luis Ayala (7-6) and advanced on Brady Clark's sacrifice. Ayala intentionally walked Weeks and gave way to Stanton with Lyle Overbay due up.
Yost said the Brewers felt Nationals starter Livan Hernandez had gotten away with a balk in the seventh when he picked off Trent Durrington from first base, and Robinson said the Brewers' complaints over that play may have factored into Schrieber's game-ending call in the 10th.
"It was a bad call," Hernandez said. "You don't need to call that kind of play in that situation. You can see in the video it was a perfect move to first base."
Julio Santana (2-3) picked up the win with a perfect 10th as the Brewers won for just the second time in 36 games in which they've trailed after seven innings.
Hernandez, seeking his 13th win, took a 3-2 lead into the eighth and was one strike away from handing it over to major league saves leader Chad Cordero for the ninth when Carlos Lee sent his 131st pitch, a 1-and-2 slider, into the left-field seats for his first homer this month and 23rd of the season.
Preston Wilson, acquired in a trade with Colorado on Wednesday, had given the Nationals a 3-2 lead with a run-scoring double in the fifth off Ben Sheets, who surrendered a season-high 10 hits in seven innings.
Brad Wilkerson led off the game with his sixth homer.
LHP Dana Eveland, whose contract was purchased by the Brewers from Double-A Huntsville, said he had butterflies about pitching in the major leagues: "I get nervous pitching in a Double-A game," he said. ... Wilkerson has led off a game with a homer 14 times in his career. ... Brewers C Chad Moeller extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games.